CCC 25 To conclude this Prologue, it is fitting to recall this pastoral principle stated by the Roman Catechism:
The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.1
CCC 163 Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below. Then we shall see God “face to face”, “as he is”.2 So faith is already the beginning of eternal life:
When we contemplate the blessings of faith even now, as if gazing at a reflection in a mirror, it is as if we already possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us we shall one day enjoy.3
CCC 164 Now, however, “we walk by faith, not by sight”;4 we perceive God as “in a mirror, dimly” and only “in part”.5 Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it.
CCC 314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God “face to face”,6 will we fully know the ways by which – even through the dramas of evil and sin – God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest7 for which he created heaven and earth.
CCC 735 He, then, gives us the “pledge” or “first fruits” of our inheritance: the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as “God [has] loved us.”8 This love (the “charity” of 1 Cor 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible because we have received “power” from the Holy Spirit.9
CCC 773 In the Church this communion of men with God, in the “love [that] never ends,” is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world.10 “[The Church’s] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ’s members. And holiness is measured according to the ‘great mystery’ in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom.”11 Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church’s mystery as “the bride without spot or wrinkle.”12 This is why the “Marian” dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine.”13
CCC 800 Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms.14
CCC 953 Communion in charity. In the sanctorum communio, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.”15 “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”16 “Charity does not insist on its own way.”17 In this solidarity with all men, living or dead, which is founded on the communion of saints, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all. Every sin harms this communion.
CCC 1023 Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face:18
By virtue of our apostolic authority, we define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints. .. and other faithful who died after receiving Christ’s holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification when they died,. .. or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death,. ..) already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment – and this since the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into heaven – have been, are and will be in heaven, in the heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature.19
CCC 1454 The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of God. The passages best suited to this can be found in the Ten Commandments, the moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic letters, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings.20
CCC 1720 The New Testament uses several expressions to characterize the beatitude to which God calls man:
– the coming of the Kingdom of God;21 – the vision of God: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”22
– entering into the joy of the Lord;23
– entering into God’s rest:24
There we shall rest and see, we shall see and love, we shall love and praise. Behold what will be at the end without end. For what other end do we have, if not to reach the kingdom which has no end?25
CCC 1813 The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity.26
CCC 1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.”27 The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.28
The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: “charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”29
CCC 1826 “If I. .. have not charity,” says the Apostle, “I am nothing.” Whatever my privilege, service, or even virtue, “if I. .. have not charity, I gain nothing.”30 Charity is superior to all the virtues. It is the first of the theological virtues: “So faith, hope, charity abide, these three. But the greatest of these is charity.”31
CCC 1988 Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ’s Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself:32
[God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. .. For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.33
CCC 2004 Among the special graces ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and of the ministries within the Church:
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.34
CCC 2519 The “pure in heart” are promised that they will see God face to face and be like him.35 Purity of heart is the precondition of the vision of God. Even now it enables us to see according to God, to accept others as “neighbors”; it lets us perceive the human body – ours and our neighbor’s – as a temple of the Holy Spirit, a manifestation of divine beauty.
1 Roman Catechism, Preface 10; cf. I Cor 13 8.
2 1 Cor 13:12; I Jn 3:2.
3 St. Basil De Spiritu Sancto 15, 36: PG 32, 132; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 4, 1.
4 2 Cor 5:7.
5 l Cor 13:12.
6 1 Cor 13:12.
7 Cf. Gen 2:2.
8 1 Jn 4: 12; cf. Rom 8:23; 2 Cor 1:21.
9 Acts 1:8; cf. 1 Cor 13.
10 1 Cor 13:8; cf. LG 48.
11 John Paul II, MD 27.
12 Eph 5:27.
13 Cf. John Paul II, MD 27.
14 Cf. 1 Cor 13.
15 Rom 14:7.
16 1 Cor 12:26-27.
17 1 Cor 13:5; cf. 10:24.
18 1 Jn 3:2; cf. 1 Cor 13:12; Rev 22:4.
19 Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000; cf. LG 49.
20 Cf. Mt 5-7; Rom 12-15; 1 Cor 12-13; Gal 5; Eph 4-6; etc.
21 Cf. Mt 4:17.
22 Mt 5:8; cf. 1 Jn 2; 1 Cor 13:12.
23 Mt 25:21-23.
24 Cf. Heb 4:7-11.
25 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 22, 30, 5: PL 41,804.
26 Cf. 1 Cor 13:13.
27 Rom 5:10.
28 Cf. Mt 5:44; Lk 10:27-37; Mk 9:37; Mt 25:40, 45.
29 1 Cor 13:4-7.
30 1 Cor 13:1-4.
31 1 Cor 13:13.
32 Cf. 1 Cor 12; Jn 15:1 4.
33 St. Athanasius, Ep. Serap. 1, 24: PG 26, 585 and 588.
34 Rom 12:6-8.
35 Cf. 1 Cor 13:12; 1 Jn 3:2.